What Are You Selling, And Why Aren’t People Buying It?

Coaching can lead to transformation. It empowers people, it can lead to inner freedom, it can create a feeling of spiritual connection. Coaching can do all of these things.

However, it is a rare coach who can build a business selling any of that.

Why Don’t People Buy The Touchy-Feely Stuff?

Forgive me for being flippant when I refer to transformation, empowerment, spiritual connection and inner freedom as ‘touchy-feely’. I do it for a very specific reason.

Can I start by saying that I am as much into the touchy-feely stuff as any coach. I love the transformation, the empowerment, the inner freedom and the spiritual connection that can come from coaching.


People buy things that either solve a problem, or fulfil a need. That’s it.

Specifically, they buy outcomes relating to those problems or needs. Even more specifically, they buy outcomes that either move them away from pain, or towards something pleasant – based around the problem/need that they have.

The 3am Trick

If you want to sell something you need to understand what your ideal client (sorry, but it does, of course, come back to understanding exactly who you are marketing to) worries about at 3am that relates to what you can provide.

Maybe you are a coach who coaches around finance for example, it may be that your ideal client worries about not having saved enough to retire. Alternatively, perhaps they are in their late 20s and becoming increasingly concerned that they don’t have anything to show for the money they’ve earned to date. Those are things that keep people awake at night worrying, that you can help with. Do you see what I mean?

In my coaching practice, my ideal client is a woman who has had a successful career, to which she intended to return after the birth of her first child. However, having had that child, she realises that actually, she no longer wants to return to her career – at least not for several years. She does however have to earn money to contribute to the household budget. She realises that working for herself will give her the flexibility to both earn and be able to bring up her children. The thing that keeps her awake at night is that she knows, if she can’t make her self-employment work, she’ll have to go back to work and – crucially – somebody else will bring up her children in her absence. It’s that last bit that keeps her awake at night.

Touchy-Feely Is An Added Bonus

The women I have coached do find transformation, they find inner freedom, empowerment and sometimes even spiritual connections; but that’s not what they buy. While they are busy trying to earn an income, if I said to them that they can have those things by working with me, they would have said thanks, but no thanks. They’d have said that they need to hang on to every penny, not spend it on non-essentials, after all, they are trying to make enough money to not have to return to work, aren’t they?

Those who work with financial coaches may also find transformation, empowerment, inner freedom and spiritual connection, but they aren’t looking to buy those things. What they want is coaching around their specific problem; money.

People Buy What They Want, Not What They Need

No matter how important you might think that transformation etc is to your potential client, how much you know that they need it (and you may well be right), here’s the rub: People buy what they want, not what they need.

People want a problem solved, or a need fulfilled – and they’ll pay for those outcomes.